Soyuz MS-10: Russian spacecraft makes emergency landing on Earth

Olive Hawkins
October 12, 2018

NASA's Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexey Ovchinin are alive and in Kazakhstan. Roscosmos has earned billions of dollars in fees ferrying astronauts into orbit since NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles in 2011.

'The capsule is returning via a ballistic descent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal. If this were a Hollywood film, we might see the President order SpaceX to rush around the clock to finish their new Dragon capsule in time to perform a daring rescue, but in reality it simply isn't worth the risk to human life.

Thursday's accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before an explosion on the launchpad.

What happens next: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted a statement in which he confirmed that the crew was safe and that NASA was monitoring the situation carefully.

"I'm grateful that everyone is safe".

He said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure.

While the initial launch at 04:40am ET was successful, the problem with the booster soon became apparent.

It was the latest in a recent series of failures for the Russian space program, which is also used by the U.S.to carry its astronauts to the station.

Using various media publications, the Russians have accused the Americans of sabotaging one of the Soyuz capsules to get a sick astronaut back to Earth earlier than expected.

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Hague is a colonel in the Air Force. The derivative has been transporting crews to the space station since coming into service in 2001, conducting 55 successful flights in 17 years.

Hague and Ovchinin would have joined the station's current crew, which includes American astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor.

In 2003, when Expedition 6 crew members Ken Bowersox and Don Pettit and their cosmonaut counterpart Nikolai Budarin returned from a five-month stay aboard the ISS, their automated controls failed, forcing the re-entry in ballistic mode.

Until a full investigation can be completed by Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, the Soyuz rocket is grounded.

Hague and Ovchinin were scheduled to dock at the International Space Station six hours after launch.

They were scheduled to remain up there until mid-December. He said failsafe systems operated properly by detaching the astronauts' capsule from the rocket and returning them to the ground. This would leave the Station unmanned until Soyuz can be flown again and bring a new crew. That would be a huge change for an outpost that has been continuously occupied for about 18 years, but it's something that NASA and its worldwide partners have always been prepared to do, if necessary.

Saint-Jacques said in September that an air leak at the International Space Station was like a wake-up call to remind astronauts that all the training they go through is useful.

He also notes that critical systems are created to operate automatically or with the help of controllers on the ground. Then, a rocket malfunctioned shortly before launch, and the crew vehicle was ejected to safety.

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